Contaminated medical cannabis leads to random testing in Canada

Health Canada said it will begin random testing of medical marijuana after two of the nation’s licensed producers recalled MMJ that was contaminated with unapproved pesticides.

The government health agency implemented the testing plan in response to the MMJ recall late last year by OrganiGram of Moncton, New Brunswick, and Mettrum of Toronto. Both used chemicals that are not among the nation’s 13 approved pesticides.

The growers’ recall of cannabis tainted with myclobutanil, bifenazate and pyrethrins affected roughly 25,000 medical marijuana patients in Canada, according to CBC News.

Myclobutanil also is banned in Colorado, Oregon and Washington because, when burned in products like cannabis and tobacco, it produces hydrogen cyanide. Canada permits the use of bifenazate only on grapes, greenhouse vegetables and apples, and pyrethrins only for organic food.

In addition to the random tests, Health Canada said in a news release it will begin “providing additional compliance education and information to licensed producers … to strengthen controls and safeguards.”

Health Canada estimates roughly 119,709 citizens were MMJ patients as of Nov. 30, which means the recall affected about 20% of Canadian medical marijuana license holders, according to CBC News.

Meanwhile, 90-plus MMJ patients involved in the recall have contacted a class-action law firm in Halifax, Wagners, about a possible suit, the news organization reported.

Firm founder Ray Wagner told CBC News a health-claim lawsuit could be difficult because there are many different ailments among the patient group, and neither the ailments nor their causes have been proved in court. Wagner was more optimistic he could win a “disgorgement” claim where class-action plaintiffs could be awarded refunds and a portion of the companies’ profits.